Female Political Prisoners in Nicaragua Protest over Medical Attention

Family members of the young “aguadores” (water carriers) show photos of their detained relatives. Photo: EFE / Jorge Torres.

They requested medical attention for Neyma Hernandez, who on Friday suffered a pre-infarct and severe abdominal pains

By Maynor Salazar (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Family members of female political prisoners who make up the “group of water carriers,” assured Confidencial that their relatives did not accept their breakfast on Monday in protest for the lack of medical attention to Neyma Hernandez, also detained in the cells of the Judicial Assistance Directorate, better known as “El Chipote.”

A relative of one of the members of the “group” confirmed that those who did not accept breakfast were Wendy Juarez, Ivania Alvarez, Olama Hurtado, Amaya Coppens and Olga Valle. She expressed that one of the demands of Neyma’s companions arose due to a hypertension problem she had last Friday, coupled with a strong stomach ache that lasted on Saturday and Sunday.

“The girls did not accept their breakfast. We don’t know if the same happened with lunch. In addition to medical attention they were requesting a special visit for Neyma from her mother,” said a relative of one the members of the “group.”

Mirna Ruiz, mother of Neyma, arrived at “El Chipote” on Monday at noon to learn about her daughter’s health. The officer who attended her informed her that her relative was treated by the doctor this morning and that she was in the National Police hospital.

“To ‘reassure me’ the lieutenant called my daughter. I was able to talk with her, but obviously it is not the same thing. She told me that she requested the special visit but they ignored her. On Friday she had a pre-infarct but they ignored it. It was because of the stomach ache that she was taken to the hospital, but she is fine now. She wants to return to be able for the visit tomorrow,” Ruiz told Confidencial.  

According to the short conversation that Ruiz had with Neyma, her mother believes that the authorities do not want to transfer her daughter from the hospital to the cell because the authorities are trying to prevent that a relative will denounce another type of situation that perhaps occurred during these days that she has been in detention.

“She does not want to be in the hospital. She told me that at the moment she has not been mistreated, but the medical attention is not good. She is not given her medicine on time, when she feels bad they do not take her to the doctor. I asked for an order to visit her in the hospital, but they denied it,” Ruiz added.

On Tuesday the relatives of the “group of water carriers” were scheduled for a regular visit with the political prisoners. They hope that the protest carried out by Neyma’s companions will not negatively influence the time they could share with their loved ones.

The detention of the “water carriers”

Neyma and her cellmates were detained along with ten other people last November 15, when they were trying to carry water to the mothers of political prisoners who were on a hunger strike in the San Miguel church in Masaya. The Prosecutor’s Office accused them of illegal arms trafficking, and they will undergo a political trial on January 30, 2020.

Although they were accused of arms trafficking, a series of live videos broadcasted minutes before their arrest on the Facebook pages of the Blue and White National Unity (UNAB) and the “Articulación de Movimiento Sociales” (Social Movements Coordinator), show that the young people had their hands up in front of the police cordon surrounding the San Miguel church, and inside the vehicles the water they carried to the protestors inside the parish.

The vehicles in which the young Nicaraguans moved were seized by the National Police. Although the Prosecutor’s Office maintains the thesis that the “group” had weapons, their relatives have stated that their loved ones are innocent, and that the arrest was done for being in solidarity with the striking mothers.

Among the relatives and lawyers, there is the sad certainty that the defense of the youngsters is done because it must be done, but not because they believe in the possibility that they will have a fair trial, or that it will be possible to reach a verdict of innocence.

Defense lawyer Julio Montenegro bases his pessimism on the results of his recent history as legal representative of the citizens arrested for exercising their constitutional right to protest. The courts, he said, were anything but impartial. 

“I have handled the cases of between 125 to 130 clients, and only about 25 or 30 were found not guilty, but those were cases where neither the Public Ministry nor the judge had any basis to find them guilty.  In all the others, it was enough to allege the possibility of their involvement to convict them,” on the fabricated charges, he described.

 



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